Two German passenger trains have collided head-on, killing at least six people.
Some carriages plunged down an embankment
At least 15 people were hurt, some seriously, said a spokesman for rail operator Deutsche Bahn.
One carriage and an engine came off the rails, and parts of the wreckage fell down a steep embankment.
The crash happened in the south-west of the country, on a single-track stretch of line near the town of Schrozberg, west of Nuremberg.
Police say both trains were regional passenger services.
The force of the impact ripped carriages apart
The dead included two members of train staff, one adult passenger and the three children.
One was travelling from Crailsheim to Aschaffenburg. The other was making the same journey in the opposite direction.
A total of 18 passengers were on the two trains, said rail officials.
Deutsche Bahn spokesman Dieter Huenerkoch said the trains were
on the line as planned, but could not explain why they collided.
Last week two Spanish trains collided head on - also on a single-track stretch of line - killing at least 19 people and injuring dozens of others.
Germany has also suffered several serious rail crashes.
The worst, in 1998, killed more than 100 people, when a high-speed train left the rails at Eschede.
Nearly two years later, eight people died when an passenger train was derailed near Cologne, Germany.